Red Deer artist Brenda Smith will leave some of her original paintings around the city as a gift to the strangers who find them. (Contributed photo)

Red Deer artist Brenda Smith will leave some of her original paintings around the city as a gift to the strangers who find them. (Contributed photo)

Red Deer artist leaving free paintings around city for strangers to find

Brenda Smith says it’s an act of kindness that also raises art awareness

Like a Christmas elf, Red Deer’s Brenda Smith is planning to leave presents of original art around the city — for strangers to find.

Whether her plastic-wrapped creations turn up on bus benches or in city parks, a note will tell finders these artworks are in need of loving homes.

Since all art is subjective, the note will also state: “if this is not to your taste, please pass it on.”

Smith is hoping her small acrylic paintings end up with people who will appreciate them.

The Oriole Park resident was inspired to make this altruistic gesture by an Instagram post she came across from Courtney Senior, a Toronto abstract painter, who founded the website artandfoundday.com.

The social project Senior initiated entails thousands of international artists leaving original artworks around their communities on March 12 for neighbouring residents to find.

Like the BookCrossing project that encourages people to leave free books for strangers as a literacy-boosting effort — many artists are already dropping off gifts of creativity throughout the year to foster public appreciation of original art — and as a gesture of kindness, said Smith.

She’s planning to leave eight of her own paintings in indoor and outdoor public spaces throughout the city before Dec. 21. “It feels good to drop them off and say, ‘Here you go. Now somebody can find them…’”

Smith’s first art drop happened earlier this fall. But as she hadn’t left any contact information, she said she doesn’t know who ended up with her paintings. This time, she plans to add a name or number so someone can message her when a picture is found.

Red Deer residents will need to keep their eyes peeled, for her paintings could be anywhere.

Smith said she’s been scoping out park benches and other sites that are visible to passers by.

The former decorative painter for specialty wall finishes, now paints whatever she likes full-time — everything from still lifes, to birds to landscapes on canvas.

Like most prolific artists, she’s completed a lot of studies and class assignments over the years that are just sitting in storage.

“Not everything sells. Sometimes it just sits around…and I would rather have these various miscellaneous pieces going to somebody,” added Smith, who hopes to inspire other artists to go through their own storerooms and take part in the project.

“Who doesn’t like a nice surprise?”



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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